Spain To Create Program to Help Employers, Unions Beat Crisis

Spain's unemployment rate of 17.4% is the highest in the EU

"Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luiz Zapatero said May 17 he would deliver an economic recovery pact uniting employers and trades unions to help the country out of the recession. "In the next few weeks, I intend to sign a big agreement on a new model for economic growth on training, education and social protection," he said in a speech in the eastern province of Albacete ahead of June European elections.

The agreement would help Spain, its workers and business people, out of the crisis, he said.

Spain's economy, the fifth largest in Europe, entered recession at the end of 2008 as the global financial crisis hit an already weakened building sector, which had for decades been the country's engine of growth.

Last month, the country's unemployment rate almost doubled from the same period in 2008 to more than four million, with the jobless rate soaring to 17.4%, the highest in the EU.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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